Millsboro Lanes sending more kids than ever

A group of youth bowlers is headed to Detroit to compete in a national tournament.

Devin Olsen, Juelius Ricketts, Justin Bunting, Sydney Hollinger, Frank Bunting IV, Trent Hoffer, Nicklaus Durham and Jacob Wilson will all compete at the 2019 U.S. Bowling Congress Junior Gold Championships from July 13 to 20.

The kids, ranging in age from 11 to 18, have been honing their skills at a Saturday morning program at Millsboro Lanes.

“If they really like bowling or if I have a kid that’s really talented, I encourage them to take it to the next level, to a state tournament,” said youth director Jessica Dalton. “If they hit a certain range I tell them they should try for nationals, send them to a Junior Gold qualifier.”

The 30-year-old Dalton has been bowling since she was two and running the youth program for almost a decade.

“Jessica gives a lot of her time to help them succeed,” said parent Beth Poe Houseman.

Each of the eight kids traveling to Detroit has been practicing twice a week since April. They’ll bowl individually in 16 qualifying games over two days before the first cut is made. Those who qualify will continue to the next level. The Junior Gold tournament awards scholarships and is attended by top college scouts.

“This is huge to be sending out so many kids from our center. We’ve only ever sent two, at most, to nationals in one year,” Dalton said.

The Millsboro Lanes youth bowling program hosts about 100 kids, ages four through 19, every Saturday between September and March. The bowling center hosted a home school league for the first time this year.

“Some kids see it as a fun social activity, for others, it’s competitive and serious. We harness whichever side they go with,” Dalton said. “We award trophies at end of year, and we gave out over $2,000 worth of college scholarships this past year, the most we’ve ever given out.”

You can follow the Millsboro Lanes junior bowlers’ progress at the tournament online at bowl.com and find more at Millsboro Lanes’ Facebook page.